Comment Puts District Attorney in Hot Water

Comment Puts District Attorney in Hot Water

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Richard Piatt ReportingA comment in this morning's Salt Lake Tribune has landed Salt Lake County's district attorney in some hot water. The comment came in a story about the County's tight budget.

Conflict is not a new thing in Salt Lake County government, especially when money is tight. So, while making a point, DA and democrat David Yocom once again riled up the Republican County mayor.

Gerry Shaw works for Mayor Nancy Workman as Intergovernmental Affairs Director. It's a job which pays just over $101,000 a year. District Attorney David Yocom thinks his office manager, Patrick Leary, deserves a comparable salary.

To make his point, Yocum told The Salt Lake Tribune, "If Gerry Shaw, the Mayor's hairdresser can make more than Patrick, I figured Patrick deserved more. Patrick has a Master's degree, Gerry has a license to do hair."

For the folks at the beauty salon owned by Shaw's husband, the comments sparked anger over the fact Gerry Shaw isn’t a hairstylist.

Enid Greene, Vice Chair, Utah Republican Party: "It is breathtakingly mean spirited and inappropriate for an elected official to make the kind of sexist remark that Mr. Yocom made today."

Workman herself denounced Yocom's statements, although Gerry Shaw did not comment. Later Yocom explained his comments weren't intended as demeaning nor offensive.

David Yocom: "We don't have money to prosecute crime in this county, but we can afford to pay someone $101,400 dollars a year to keep the appointment book of the mayor. That may seem to be a little outlandish."

Shaw's salary is just one piece of an extremely lean budget County Council is considering. A hiring freeze is in effect, sheriff's deputies are getting one percent raises. Mayor Nancy Workman justifies her staff raises and salaries by saying, “If you want good people, you have to pay them.”

Yocom today stopped short of apologizing, even though his critics demanded it.

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